By SIYAMTHANDA PONGCO
A call for action:
the newly elected Chairperson of the Safe House and the Neighborhood Watch/Grahamstown Anti Crime, Luyanda Sakata calls on the community of Makhanda to rally behind and support groups and individuals that seek to address gender-based violence and any activity of unlawfulness in Makhanda.
While Sakata is delighted to be an elected member of the Safe House, he said that keeping the neighborhood safe is a big task but a very important one.
In their passion for addressing crime in Makhanda, Sakata said his team hope they can work together towards a sustainable solution when addressing and hopefully winning the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
An ideal and safe space for victims of GBV:
Sakata said the Safe House is an ideal space for victims of gender-based violence because it is safe. The victim usually stays for three to seven days, but it depends on the severity of the case.
He added they would love to keep the victims longer than that. However, they are struggling to find a space that is not rented but belongs to them and is home to the victims of gender-based violence. Previously, they used to be housed by SAPS at the police station but they are now renting a place whose location cannot be disclosed due to safety reasons.
In addition to being safe, the Safe House is free of charge for all GBV victims. Although the Safe House faces financial challenges, Sakata is determined to keep it going. Hence they are calling to the community of Makhanda to assist where they can.
Sakata added that the Safe House also offers and encourages counselling services; amongst the cases, they have dealt with in the past, he said he witnessed how the counselling services have been helpful as they rarely get repeat offenders or incidents.
A call for Black and the Colored community victims to go for counselling:
In his experience, he has noticed that Black and Coloured communities tend to rely on family intervention in GBV cases. However, in such matters, he strongly advises victims to visit a qualified expert who knows how to deal with and address conflict as they may lead to even more devastating GBV cases.
Sakata said that drugs and alcohol are usually the root cause of most GBV cases; however, he cannot deny that this is not always the case.
Sakata said that the town of Makhanda, just like any other place in the country, is facing the issue of gender-based violence. People must address and come forward about the problems of gender-based violence, families must not protect the perpetrators, and victims should always be supported.
About The Safe House:
Here at The Safe House, we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making the world a better place for all. We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all our pursuits. We break the silence on abuse by empowering Survivors and Supporting Communities by Providing Abused Women and Children with a safe place to heal, rebuild and reconnect.
Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
Dealing with the challenges of today requires problem-solvers who bring different perspectives and are willing to take risks. The Safe House emerged from the pursuit to inspire and support the community and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. Established in 2015, we’re an organization driven by progressive ideas, bold steps, and a solid foundation of support. Poverty and substance abuse are two of the most often quoted reasons for the high incidence of domestic abuse in the far south. Now there is a fraction of hope for some. The Safe House – in an undisclosed area – has ten beds for women and their children who need a bolt-hole and safe place to recoup and reinvent their lives.
From Idea to Reality: The Evolution of The Safe House
The Safehouse is Kathy Cronje’s brainchild, but it has the Provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) support. It has also captured the hearts of many people and organizations, locally and abroad. Everything in the home has been sponsored or donated. The gifts have softened the edges of what is always a profoundly traumatic experience for the women and children needing help.
Newly Elected Board Members for the Safe House:
- Chairperson – Luyanda Sakata
- Deputy Chairperson – Miliswa Sandi
- Secretary – Ntombozuko Madinda
- Deputy Secretary – Sive Mafani
- Treasurer – Godfrey Brockman
- Project Coordinator – Mrs Nzwana
- Safehouse Mothers: Nompumelelo Lamani and Mrs Duffy
If you are a victim of gender-based violence, you can reach Safe House on 060 478 7812. If you would like to assist or donate to the Safe House, you can also use 060 478 7812.